In the midst of researching the local history of Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Northwest, I was aghast to learn that the Snohomish Tribe- along with dozens of unique cultures & nations native to our United States, have, in the nation's rush to fulfill America's Manifest Destiny in centuries past, suffered grievous but still reparable harm to its literal existence.
Since 1855, the US does not recognize the Snohomish nation's existence.
How is this possible when the county I live in, a neighboring city and a river nearby are named after the proud Snohomish? How does a culture & sovereign nation that manifests living descendants get erased on paper? Perhaps that was okay in the 1850's but wrongs committed in the name of progress no longer represent the virtues of our United States in the 21st Century.
The first centuries of intrusion erased countless proud cultures who lived & prospered on the North American landscape for centuries before the country was declared. We, The People of the 21st Century, understand that altering the past is not possible; but we have an opportunity to bring integrity back onto the sacred lands of Indigenous Peoples in this, the Age of Transparency. Imagine how you would feel if your existence was subject to errors, omissions, coercion & discrimination... stated in a foreign tongue by those usurping your ancestral lands.
In light of the resulting decades of struggle for the Snohomish nation, historical accounts and records do not establish with certainty whether the Indigenous Peoples who signed the Point Elliott Treaty fully read & understood the content and consequences of the agreement. How is it that Native Peoples had the ability to comprehend the complex intricacies of a treaty's rambling legal text?
Only one man or woman can shine the light of truth onto America's majestic native cultures & repair the nation's moral fiber: the President Of The United States.
In Article 7 of the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855, students of history learn that the President can make amends to those harmed as a result & consequence of being inexplicably rounded up then forced onto reservations, their beautiful original names anglicized, that blurred the individual & unique cultures, traditions, languages & beautiful races of the Pacific NW's Indigenous Peoples:
The President may hereafter, when in his opinion the interests of the Territory shall require and the welfare of the said Indians be promoted, remove them from either or all of the special reservations herein before make to the said general reservation, or such other suitable place within said Territory as he may deem fit, on remunerating them for their improvements and the expenses of such removal, or may consolidate them with other friendly tribes or bands; and he may further at his discretion cause the whole or any portion of the lands hereby reserved, or of such other land as may be selected in lieu thereof, to be surveyed into lots, and assign the same to such individuals or families as are willing to avail themselves of the privilege, and will locate on the same as a permanent home on the same terms and subject to the same regulations as are provided in the sixth article of the treaty with the Omahas, so far as the same may be applicable. Any substantial improvements heretofore made by any Indian, and which he shall be compelled to abandon in consequence of this treaty, shall be valued under the direction of the President and payment made accordingly therefor.Mr. President, the 21st Century of transparency requires you to act appropriately in restoring the dignity of the United States Constitution, for ALL of The People, including the Snohomish Tribe in the state of Washington.
The Snohomish Tribe has been on the American continent hundreds- perhaps thousands- of years prior to European colonization of this land. But the Declaration of Independence would set the stage for the American Horror Story our proud indigenous nations would for centuries endure.
Historically corrupt Congress won't do it. The Supreme Court is clueless. But this is the 21st Century of change. This is not a complex scenario. Somebody done somebody wrong. For those of us who are the living, it is never too late to fix something.
So it is time for you, President Obama, as a human being who understands discrimination & racism, to lead, recognize & remunerate the Snohomish- along with countless tribes & nations whose livelihood is a tradition of the continent, and celebrate the spirit, the integrity, the dignity of ALL of America's citizens.
Contact /cc: Joseph Biden
Department of Justice, United States